The White Sox came up short against the Yankees with their late rally on Monday night, but they did win one of the games within the game by making Aroldis Chapman sweat. Chapman threw 20 largely ineffective pitches on zero days’ rest, and since he was coming off inflammation in his throwing shoulder, Joe Girardi wasn’t going to use him three days in a row.
Being one late-inning reliever short bit the Yankees tonight, because when Girardi’s other guys couldn’t find the strike zone, he ran out of preferred options to replace them. And while it looked like the White Sox were willing to let them off the hook, the game lasted long enough for Jose Abreu to knock a walk-off single through the left side.
Let’s start with the eighth. Rick Renteria had his bullpen lined up to protect a 1-0 lead, but it went awry when Tommy Kahnle gave up three runs for reasons fair (walking a guy with zero plate appearances, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez hitting) and unfair (two BABIPpy singles, one of which got the game to Judge with two outs). Kahnle couldn’t finish the inning, and took out his frustrations on the bench afterward. With Luis Severino silencing the White Sox through seven, two runs looked too large to overcome.
But since Severino had crossed the 100-pitch threshold — looking no worse for the wear -- Girardi went to the bullpen, and it was the best thing that happened to the Sox all night.
First, Domingo German relieved Severino and walked Alen Hanson and Yolmer Sanchez. That forced Girardi to go to Tyler Clippard, who walked Melky Cabrera to load the bases on four pitches. He came back to get Abreu to strike out and Avisail Garcia to pop out, but he then walked Todd Frazier to make it a 3-2 game.
Speaking of 3-2, he then ran a full count to Matt Davidson and came within a pitch of tying the game, but he threw a ballsy changeup on the 11th pitch of the battle and got the swinging strike to send it to the ninth.
Dan Jennings, who finished up Kahnle’s inning, pitched around a one-out single and a two-out catcher interference on Jacoby Ellsbury, who is great at drawing those things. That sent the game to the ninth, and the biergarten I was watching the game at due to the MLB.tv blackout started playing James Brown’s “The Payback.”
Thanks to more Yankee wildness, the prophecy came true. Dellin Betances issued Kevan Smith’s first MLB walk in 130 plate appearances on four pitches with one out, then walked Hanson on a full count. A 1-0 curve found Yolmer Sanchez’s ass to load the bases for the White Sox’ best contact hitter.
Melky Cabrera couldn’t get the job done, popping out to Brett Gardner in left. But that gave Abreu a second chance to capitalize with the sacks packed, and this time he came through. Betances fell behind 2-1 throwing three consecutive breaking balls, and when he tried a fourth, Abreu shot it through the left side, scoring Willy Garcia (pinch-running for Smith) and Hanson to end it. With six walks over the final 1 2⁄3 innings, the White Sox better have found three runs.
Thanks to the craziness, the eighth and ninth inning took so long that it takes a minute to remember who started it.
Whether you evaluated Jose Quintana more for helping the Sox or increasing potential appeal for the Yankees, he got the job done, throwing 6 1⁄3 scoreless innings. He walked four, but the trade-off was worth it, as he only gave up two hits and struck out five. Two of those walks were with the bases empty, two outs and the Yankees’ power threats at the plate, and he retired nine in a row at one point. When New York threatened, Quintana rose to the occasion. It was a great performance, and Quintana has now posted 17 consecutive scoreless innings to lower his June ERA 1.78.
On the other side, Severino might have been better. He struck out 12 while walking nobody over his seven innings, and seemed to get stronger at the finish. The White Sox were able to tag him for a run in the third inning on a two-out Abreu double, though. They also were a couple of bad breaks from adding a second. With a runner in scoring position and one out in the fifth, Sanchez lined out to first baseman Austin Romine, and Cabrera’s hot grounder back through the box took off Severino’s glove, but stayed close enough to the mound for Severino to recover.
Severino also lasted two outs longer than Quintana, who gave way to Anthony Swarzak after his fourth and final walk. Swarzak came through by getting a first-pitch double play, while the Yankee bullpen couldn’t find a similar hero over the last two innings. The strikeouts and extra outs gave Severino the head-to-head edge in terms of game score, 79-72, both both ended up with no-decisions.
*Abreu drove in three runs to tie Avi Garcia for the team lead with 51.
*Garcia went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and now he’s in his biggest slump of the season (1-for-21, but only four strikeouts).
*Davidson was worse, earning the golden sombrero from the sixth spot. Tim Anderson wore the silver sombero behind him.
*Joe West’s strike zone confused both teams evenly.
*Juan Minaya was optioned to Charlotte after the game to make room for Wednesday starter Carlos Rodon.